Republic of Korea: The 3rd National Lifelong Learning Promotion Plan: 2017, issued in 2013

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Rationale of the plan

The Lifelong Education Act of the Republic of Korea requires the Ministry of Education to develop a comprehensive lifelong education promotion plan every five years at the national level. The national plan aims to set up mid- and long-term policy objectives and a basic direction of lifelong education promotion. Therefore, the national plan should prescribe how a foundation of lifelong learning will be established and how financial and other resources will be allocated. Outcomes of policies will be analysed and evaluated in order to achieve the objectives. The Ministry of Education established the first National Lifelong Learning Promotion Plan in 2002 and the second one in 2006. The third national plan was announced in 2013, particularly highlighting the importance of lifelong learning for enhancing the quality of life of Korean’s and supporting Korea’s entry into a creative economy.

Concept of lifelong learning

The national plan adopts the concept of lifelong learning proposed in the Lifelong Education Act. It is defined as ‘all types of systematic educational activities other than regular school curriculums, including supplementary education for educational attainment, basic literacy education for adults, occupational ability enhancement education, humanities and liberal education, culture and art education, and citizen’s participation education’.

Main challenges

  • Relatively slow progress in the lifelong learning participation rate and a wide gap between different educational attainment levels, gender groups and generations in spite of implementation of national and regional government policies and actions to promote lifelong learning in the country
  • Lack of diversity in terms of provision of learning opportunities and big discrepancy between learners’ demands and lifelong learning institutions’ supplies

Main targets and measures

The third national plan proposes the following four major measures:

  • Strengthen linkage between higher and adult education system: encouraging universities and colleges to transform themselves into adult-friendly institutions; utilising human resources and facilities of universities and colleges to develop localised learning programmes and provide learning opportunities for citizens; promoting recognition, validation and accreditation of non-formal and informal learning through development of national competency standards, and promotion of recognition of prior learning
  • Establish on-line lifelong learning systems and consolidate lifelong learning policy implementation and support systems: managing the lifelong learning system to provide e-learning, information and guidance to all learners; operating lifelong learning centres at the village level; supporting ‘Lifelong Learning Cities’, providing quality learning programmes to their citizens; establishing a regional institute for lifelong learning in all the provinces; ensuring the quality of instructors’ certificates
  • Support the disadvantaged in their lifelong learning participation: facilitating provision of programmes customised learners’ needs and life-stage tasks, in particular for multicultural family members, the disabled, women and vulnerable youth; developing a national and regional literacy plan; recognising outcomes of literacy programmes at the lower secondary school level
  • Promote community-based learning: encouraging schools to manage community schools; promoting participation in civic education and learning circles
  • Given the definition of lifelong education by the Lifelong Education Act, the main target group of the national plan are adults aged 25 and older. However, through community-based learning promotion and vulnerable youth support programmes, this plan includes all citizens as its target.

Particular feature of the plan

The national plan and the Lifelong Education Act prescribed mechanisms for ensuring implementation of the national plan. The municipal governments should establish and implement their own annual implementation plan in accordance with the national plan. The national plan includes a budget plan, outlining the resource security plan and the time schedule of each task suggested in the plan.

Stakeholders involved in the development of the plan:

Stakeholders responsible for implementation of the plan:

Further readings and web links:

Issuing Body

Ministry of Education